27 October 2021

Deterrence Theory– Is it Applicable in Cyber Domain?

 Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


The Deterrence Theory was developed in the 1950s, mainly to address new strategic challenges posed by nuclear weapons from the Cold War nuclear scenario. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union adopted a survivable nuclear force to present a ‘credible’ deterrent that maintained the ‘uncertainty’ inherent in a strategic balance as understood through the accepted theories of major theorists like Bernard Brodie, Herman Kahn, and Thomas Schelling.1 Nuclear deterrence was the art of convincing the enemy not to take a specific action by threatening it with an extreme punishment or an unacceptable failure.

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The PLA’s Developing Cyber Warfare Capabilities and India's Options

 Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)


Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that his objective for China is to emerge as a ‘cyber superpower’. China wants to be the world’s largest nation in cyberspace and also one of the most powerful. The information technology revolution has produced both momentous opportunities and likely vulnerabilities for china. China is home of largest number of ‘netizens’ in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s most vibrant and successful technology companies. It also remains a major victim of cyber crime.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that with the rise of the Information Age future wars will be contests in the ability to exploit information. Wars will be decided by the side who is more capable to generate, gather, transmit, analyse and exploit information.

The inside story of India’s coal and power crises

Rahul Tongia

Unprecedented. Unpredictable. A “perfect storm” of high demand, high global prices, and extended monsoons. All of these are common descriptors of how India came to have just four days of coal supplies left at power plants. These are all convenient but incomplete explanations. More than plain bad luck coming together in a perfect storm or any single issue, there was a wide gap in planning, coordination, and risk-taking. This problem also didn’t happen overnight or even in a month or two – it was many months in the making. Until we recognise these issues, this could happen again, and more so as India embarks on a high renewable energy future where uncertainty grows and planning becomes even more complex.

What happened?

Globally high prices?

It turns out India’s power plants don’t import that much coal, at least not most of them which are suffering (a few coastal plants dominate imports).

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Talks Trade With the Taliban

Trevor Filseth

Tensions have lingered between the two nations since the fall of the previous Afghan government to the Taliban in mid-August. Although the border between the two nations is poorly demarcated and virtually impossible to close, a prominent border crossing between the two at Chaman has remained closed since the beginning of October, preventing supplies from transiting the border.

While it was not immediately clear if Qureshi’s visit led to progress on trade negotiations, the foreign minister announced that a Taliban delegation would visit Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, in future weeks to continue the talks.

Qureshi suggested that his talks with Taliban officials were “detailed,” and had been “attended by the prime minister and almost all cabinet ministers.”

Also present at the negotiations was Faiz Hammed, the leader of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, which has long been accused of covertly supporting the Taliban. The two men were joined by Amir Khan Muttaqi, a long-time Taliban leader and the interim government’s current foreign minister.

Storm Clouds Hang Over ‘All-Weather’ Sino-Pakistani Friendship

Umair Jamal

Pakistan’s deteriorating security situation has put Islamabad’s relationship with China under strain, indicating that the state of the bilateral relationship remains far from ideal.

On July 14, 13 people, including nine Chinese engineers, died when a bus carrying the team working on the Dasu Hydropower Project was attacked by militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. On August 21, a convoy carrying Chin­ese personnel working on the East-Bay Expressway project was attacked by a suicide bomber in Gwadar.

Follow the attack on the Dasu project, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that the incident took place due to a “mechanical failure” in the bus. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson called it an “attack” and asked for an investigation. Later, Pakistan’s government admitted that the incident was the result of a suicide bombing. Separately, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi that “lessons should be learned from the incident.”

How UAVs Could Spark a Military Conflict in the Taiwan Strait

Tobias Burgers and Scott N. Romaniuk

Much has been written, podcasted, and discussed about recent Chinese intrusions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zones (ADIZ). Among the more polemical analyses was a recent editorial by the Taipei Times advocating for the use and deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The editorial argues that given the ever-increasing numbers of incursions and the wear it causes on Republic of China Air Force fighter jets and pilots, the Taiwanese armed forces should pursue further development and deployment of UAVs for monitoring incursions by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

The newspaper makes the case that using such systems would be a cost-effective and safer alternative to using manned jets. An added benefit, according to the Taipei Times, would be that the deployment of UAVs would increase the risks for the PLAAF: “if the PLA were to shoot down drones within Taiwan’s airspace, that would be perceived by the international community as a unilateral act of aggression – and possibly an act of war.”

China’s Influence in South Asia: Vulnerabilities and Resilience in Four Countries


China’s economic and political footprint has expanded so quickly that many countries, even those with relatively strong state and civil society institutions, have struggled to grapple with the implications. There has been growing attention to this issue in the United States and the advanced industrial democracies of Japan and Western Europe. But “vulnerable” countries—those where the gap is greatest between the scope and intensity of Chinese activism, on the one hand, and, on the other, local capacity to manage and mitigate political and economic risks—face special challenges. In these countries, the tools and tactics of China’s activism and influence activities remain poorly understood among local experts and elites. Both within and beyond these countries, meanwhile, policy too often transposes Western solutions and is not well adapted to local realities.

This is especially notable in two strategic regions: Southeastern, Central, and Eastern Europe; and South Asia. China’s economic and political profile has expanded unusually quickly in these two regions, but many countries lack a deep bench of local experts who can match analysis of the domestic implications of Chinese activism to policy recommendations that reflect domestic political and economic ground truth.

How Central Asians Pushed Chinese Firms to Localize



China has become a global power, but there is too little debate about how this has happened and what it means. Many argue that China exports its developmental model and imposes it on other countries. But Chinese players also extend their influence by working through local actors and institutions while adapting and assimilating local and traditional forms, norms, and practices.

With a generous multiyear grant from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie has launched an innovative body of research on Chinese engagement strategies in seven regions of the world—Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the Pacific, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through a mix of research and strategic convening, this project explores these complex dynamics, including the ways Chinese firms are adapting to local labor laws in Latin America, Chinese banks and funds are exploring traditional Islamic financial and credit products in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and Chinese actors are helping local workers upgrade their skills in Central Asia. These adaptive Chinese strategies that accommodate and work within local realities are mostly ignored by Western policymakers in particular.

Sudan’s Military Seizes Power and Fires on Protesters

In a coup on Monday morning, the armed forces detained the prime minister and other top civilian officials. Soldiers killed at least three protesters and wounded more than 80 as demonstrations broke out across the country.

Sudan’s military seized power on Monday, detaining the prime minister and other civilian political leaders in an unfolding coup that appeared to deal a sweeping blow to hopes for a democratic transition in one of Africa’s largest countries.

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military chief, announced at a news conference that he was dissolving the country’s joint civilian-military government and imposing a state of emergency. Even so, he vowed to press ahead with elections planned for July 2023.

There had been growing signs for weeks that the military, unwilling to fully share power and intent on protecting its own interests, was plotting a takeover.

General al-Burhan, justifying the military’s actions, pointed to squabbling between rival civilian political factions in Sudan. “What the country is going through represents a threat,” he said.

Iran-Saudi Arabia Rivalry May Be Set To Ease, Or Get Much Worse

LONDON — The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said earlier this month that Iranian and Saudi negotiators had so far had four rounds of "continuous" talks, though both sides had agreed to keep them private. The talks are to ease fraught relations between Iran's radical Shia regime and the Saudi kingdom, a key Western ally in the Middle East.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said that the talks were going in the right direction, while an Iranian trade official was recently hopeful these might even allow trade opportunities for Iranian businessmen in Saudi Arabia. As the broadcaster France 24 observed separately, it will take more than positive signals to heal a five-year-rift and decades of mutual suspicions.

Agence France-Presse news agency, meanwhile, has cited an unnamed French diplomat as saying that Saudi Arabia wants to end its costly discord with Tehran. The sides may already have agreed to reopen consular offices. For Saudi Arabia, the costs include its war on Iran-backed Houthis rebels fighting an UN-recognized government in next-door Yemen.

Turkey’s Ambitious Plans for Africa

Abubakar Alhassan

For years, Turkey has pursued an ambitious agenda, expanding its influence in countries and regions formerly under Ottoman control. It may not be able to absorb these regions as part of its territory as its predecessor once did, but it is increasingly defending its economic, political and strategic interests in areas far beyond its own borders, including in parts of North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Here, Turkey’s goals are wide-ranging. It needs to secure access to vital maritime routes through the Red Sea and to energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. With economic expectations among average Turks rising, Ankara also sees these regions as a gateway to emerging markets and resource hubs in the Sahel – which can encourage further economic growth. But it also faces a number of constraints, particularly competition from its rivals in the Middle East, that may limit its influence in the Arab world.

Turkish Imperatives

Turkish history seems to give its leaders good reason to set their sights high. The Ottomans, after all, oversaw an empire that, at its height, ruled parts of Europe, the Middle East and North and East Africa. This effectively gave the Ottomans control over many of the world’s most important trade routes and some of its most resource-rich regions. However, the empire crumbled in 1918 after the First World War, in which it backed the losing side, and its territories were divided among Britain, France and Russia. Following the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey seemed to accept its fate as a far more modest power, but memories of its past glory never faded completely.

Six Critical Actions Biden Can Take to Strengthen U.S. National Security

David T. Pyne

U.S. leaders could greatly reduce the risk that adversaries of the United States will join forces and engage in a catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland by adopting a new national security strategy that would be less provocative to Russia and China. There are six critically important steps that the Biden administration could take to further deter U.S. enemies from attacking the United States, defend America, and save tens of millions of American lives in the unfortunate event that U.S. adversaries do attack.

In recent years, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have continued to strengthen their two-decades-old military alliance and have engaged in a number of joint military exercises. In addition, there have been reports that they have taken steps to form a joint missile defense system. The Russian national missile defense system consists of several thousand anti-ballistic missile (ABM) interceptors and is potentially capable of shooting down 80 percent of America’s second-strike nuclear warheads following a Sino-Russian nuclear first strike. This would leave perhaps six dozen U.S. warheads to impact super-hardened Russian and Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos, which might be able to survive near misses, and deep underground nuclear command centers, which may be impervious to nuclear attack. Mark Schneider, one of the top U.S. nuclear weapons experts, explains that even setting aside the massive Russian national missile defense system and expanding Chinese national missile defenses, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is insufficient for its mission to hold enemy nuclear forces and underground nuclear command centers at risk.

Lessons From Afghanistan: America Needs a Less Emotional Foreign Policy

Harry Tarpey

“We took young Americans and delivered them to the battlefield in Afghanistan to face an enemy that was incapable of reaching them otherwise.”

In the wake of the U.S. military’s dramatic exit from Afghanistan, the foreign policy establishment in DC has been hard at work proffering how and when the withdrawal from a two-decades-long conflict with no end in sight could have been handled better. Chaotic scenes from Kabul airport, two suicide bombings resulting in dozens of Afghan civilian deaths and the loss of thirteen American service members, and the seemingly inevitable collapse of Afghan civil society have all contributed to what is now a widely held consensus: though the United States needed to get out of Afghanistan, this was not the way to do it.

Critiques of the Biden administration’s approach to the withdrawal range from those claiming that the status quo (limiting the boots-on-the-ground presence to a small force of highly trained operators and providing air support to Afghan security forces) could have been maintained indefinitely to those arguing that a more coordinated and intentional mobilization of multilateral diplomatic negotiations could have prevented such a rapid collapse of the Afghan state. Adam Weinstein, a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and a former marine who served in Afghanistan in 2012, recently sat down with co-host Tom Collina on Press the Button to share his thoughts on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more importantly, the lessons we should take away from it.

U.S. AI Workforce: Policy Recommendations

Diana Gehlhaus, Luke Koslosky, Kayla Goode, Claire Perkins

This policy brief addresses the need for a clearly defined artificial intelligence education and workforce policy by providing recommendations designed to grow, sustain, and diversify the U.S. AI workforce. The authors employ a comprehensive definition of the AI workforce—technical and nontechnical occupations—and provide data-driven policy goals. Their recommendations are designed to leverage opportunities within the U.S. education and training system while mitigating its challenges, and prioritize equity in access and opportunity to AI education and AI careers.

Executive Summary

The U.S. artificial intelligence workforce, which stood at 14 million people in 2019, or 9 percent of total U.S. employment, has grown rapidly in recent years. This trend is likely to continue, as AI occupational employment over the next decade is projected to grow twice as fast as employment in all occupations.

Such an important and increasing component of the U.S. workforce demands dedicated education and workforce policy. Yet one does not exist. To date, U.S. policy has been a piecemeal approach based on inconsistent definitions of the AI workforce. For some, current policy is focused on top-tier doctorates and immigration reform. For others, the conversation quickly reverts to STEM education.

Its Time to Admit It: America Lost the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Ian S. Lustick

Here's What You Need To Remember: There is hope that defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan will help those brave American politicians who will object in the future to hitting nails in the Far or Middle East with the American military hammer.

American national interests are not the aspirations that some Americans have for their country on the world stage. Some citizens, for example, may want the United States to be the world’s predominant economic, military, and political power, able to assert itself incontestably in every important world region. Some may entertain particular goals so deeply—such as defending Ukraine against Russian encroachment, ridding Cuba of communism, and stopping Hamas attacks against Israel—as to portray them as vital to the country.

To qualify as a national interest, however, a foreign policy objective must attract the committed support of a vast majority of Americans. To be sure, some operational goals, such as retaliating against Al Qaeda after 9/11 or “bringing Osama bin Laden to justice,” may enjoy that kind of broad support. However, they do not qualify as vital national interests because they are not enduring. They cannot serve as touchstones for U.S. foreign and national security policy over decades and generations. Only widely shared aspirations attached to long-term goals can be usefully treated as national interests, capable of guiding policy across both decades and partisan lines.

What Should Really Alarm Us About China’s New “Hypersonic” Missile Test


A new type of Chinese missile is triggering panic among some U.S. defense officials, but the alarms are overblown.

In a test this past August, according to an article in last weekend’s Financial Times, this missile flew at “hypersonic” speeds in a low orbit all the way around the globe. Toward the end of the flight, it released a vehicle (capable of containing a nuclear warhead), which then glided toward its target. Such a missile could approach the United States not just from the north—as normal ballistic missiles would—but from the east, west, or south. It would thus evade our warning radars and, as one official put it, “negate” our missile-defense systems.

Chinese officials have denied the story, saying they were just testing a reusable civilian rocket. Wednesday’s New York Times raises questions about whether the test happened, at least in quite the way, or with the significance, that the FT breathlessly suggests. But let’s say the story is true. Let’s say that this new missile could render the U.S. missile-defense system useless.

Experts Call for a U.S. National Technology Strategy as Competition Heats Up with China

Brandi Vincent

In producing and carrying out an increasingly important national technology strategy, the U.S. government should prioritize Cold War-era investments in research and development and reshape workforce models to incentivize more digitally-savvy personnel, officials said.

“We're entering what could be one of the most disruptive periods in human history, propelled by a convergence of technologies we can barely fathom,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., explained at an event held Thursday by the Center for New American Security.

The lawmaker's keynote was followed by a panel discussion between multiple experts, including some who have comprehensively studied this topic.

Federal agencies do not currently operate under one overarching strategy that governs all technology implementation. But such a strategy is becoming more of a necessity as the nation is “losing ground to China” in areas including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, hypersonics and 5G, Bennet noted. According to the senator, China is facilitating a plan that is already connected “almost 90% of their consumers to ultra-fast internet, compared to our 25%.” The country is building factories for electric vehicles faster than the rest of the world and tripled awards of doctorate degrees in science and engineering over the past 20 years.

The U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq and Its Impact on Baghdad, Erbil, and the Relations Between Them

Morgan L. Kaplan

By December 31, 2021, the United States will have completed its second formal withdrawal from Iraq in a decade. Just three years after the last American withdrawal, the Iraqi state was in peril, with a third of the country fallen to the Islamic State and Baghdad and Erbil under direct threat. The result was the return of U.S. combat operations in Iraq in 2014, and thus a second occasion to withdraw today.

How will the next U.S. withdrawal impact Iraq’s political and security environment, and in particular, Erbil-Baghdad relations and stability in the Kurdistan Region? To answer this question, one must account for whether the withdrawal will lead to real change on the ground, as well as how the withdrawal will be perceived by relevant actors, regardless of the scope of actual change.

Since 2003, the United States has been a powerful mediator in the ever-tense relations between Iraq’s Kurds and the central government. America’s renewed combat presence in Iraq, and security assistance to both Erbil and Baghdad in the war against the Islamic State, provided the U.S. with additional capacity and leverage in pacifying Kurdish-Arab affairs. As such, some may speculate that the American withdrawal may lead to a serious deterioration of Erbil-Baghdad relations, which could eventually spiral into violence between the two actors. Although relations between Erbil and Baghdad have been relatively stable during Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s time in office, the possibility of greater instability between Iraq’s Kurds and the central government is always present. The October elections, and subsequent government-formation bargaining, can upend the terms of this stability, and the main sources of conflict between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad (i.e. the status of disputed territories and internal borders, budgetary issues, and oil revenue-sharing) remain unresolved.

Psychology of the Radical

CPT David M. Tillman

The Study of Terrorism is plagued with ambiguity and contradiction, much of which stems from the inability to agree upon a universal definition. This is particularly apparent when analyzing the various contributing factors surrounding individuals who gravitate towards and ultimately adopt extremist ideologies. To reduce the complexity of analyzing this topic, we will focus exclusively on individuals who have adopted an extremist ideology and are prone to commit violence in support of it. There is a multitude of characteristics that may be associated with these types of individuals, but as Boaz Ganor (2021) alludes to, it is typically an amalgamation of variables that precipitate the manifestation of these ideologies. While some characteristics appear almost symbiotic in nature, others may be viewed as directly contradicting one another. This article argues that there are five major factors that perpetuate extremist ideology and acts of terrorism including sociocultural incompatibility, lack of personal achievement, aptitude toward ignoring contradictory evidence, elevating basic values into sacred ones, and falling well outside the typical socioeconomic distribution curve. It is the amalgamation of these factors that leads individuals to become receptive to extremist ideologies which, as this article will later discuss, all typically follow a consisently specific archetype.

Is Russia Starting to Sour on China?

Yuan Jiang

Conventional wisdom holds that best friends make the worst enemies. Should China keep this saying in mind regarding its relationship with Russia?

Currently, enmity between the two partners seems a remote possibility, especially after President Vladimir Putin praised Beijing openly at the recent Russian Energy Week conference. However, despite the harmonious public pronouncements, Sino-Russian rapprochement may not be able to completely conceal the emerging irritation of Russian elites toward Beijing.

Professor Alexander Lukin’s latest article in the Washington Quarterly notes this change. Back in 2018, his book “China and Russia: The New Rapprochement” discussed the promise of Sino-Russian cooperation. In contrast, Lukin now frankly admits that “any possible changes in U.S. policy will probably prove less of a deterrent to further Russian-Chinese rapprochement than will Russian concerns over China’s growing assertiveness.” He argues that “the peak of Russian-Chinese rapprochement has probably passed.”

Japan moves forward with nuclear power, Germany moves backward

Stephen Johnson

In March 2011, a tsunami struck Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering three nuclear meltdowns and leaking radioactively contaminated water miles out into the Pacific Ocean. It was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. Shaken by the disaster and uncertain of the safety of its remaining nuclear power plants, Japan shut down all but one of its nuclear reactors.

But it was Germany that responded most severely to the Fukushima disaster. Facing strong political and public opposition to the nation’s own nuclear infrastructure, the German government began closing nuclear power plants and set plans to phase out all of the nation’s nuclear facilities by 2022.

Japan, however, is planning to restart its nuclear power program. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference earlier this month that it was “crucial” for the country to bring its nuclear reactors back online, noting that the nation’s demand for electricity is projected to spike. Likewise, Japan’s industry minister recently said that he would like “to promote the maximum adoption of renewable energy, thorough energy conservation, and the restart of nuclear power plants with the highest priority on safety.” These efforts, he said, will push Japan toward its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Myth of Russian Decline

Michael Kofman and Andrea Kendall-Taylor

The Biden administration came into office with a clear and unambiguous foreign policy priority: countering a rising China. The administration’s public statements, its early national security planning documents, and its initial diplomatic forays have all suggested that pushing back against Beijing’s growing global influence will be Washington’s national security focus, alongside transnational threats such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The question of how to deal with Russia, by contrast, has taken a back seat, returning to the fore only when Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s border in April. That crisis served as a reminder of the danger of looking past Moscow—yet by July, President Joe Biden was back to declaring that Russia was “sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else.”

Biden is not the first American leader to think along these lines. Ever since the end of the Cold War, American politicians have periodically suggested that Russia’s days as a true global power are numbered. In 2014, John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, called Russia a “gas station masquerading as a country.” That same year, U.S. President Barack Obama dismissed Russia as a mere “regional power.” Not long thereafter, Russia successfully intervened in the Syrian war, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and inserted itself into the political crisis in Venezuela and the civil war in Libya. And yet, the perception of Russia as a paper tiger persists.

The new geopolitics of fragility: Russia, China, and the mounting challenge for peacebuilding

Bruce Jones and Alexandre Marc

During the Cold War, the conflicts of the “Third World” were viewed by the superpowers as a terrain for competition, often in the form of proxy wars that turned those countries into some of the great killing fields of modern history. Then, for the two decades that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, wars in every region in the world declined, by every measure. Notwithstanding the current focus on the failures of U.S.-led wars in the wider Middle East, this decline in levels of war was in large part due to successful efforts at peacebuilding, led by the Western nations. Now, that progress is at risk. The West faces stiff competition for influence in development policy in general, and in fragile states specifically. Competing investments from foreign interests in fragile states can undermine countries’ long term economic and financial sustainability, while ill-conceived security support arrangements can weaken the governance of the security and justice sector in these countries. All while mounting tensions at the United Nations Security Council and other global and regional institutions reduce or impede the international community’s ability to prevent the escalations of conflict and support accountability.

There’s long been competition at the regional level in fragile states, but as fragility has spread across the Middle East, that dynamic has brought in more influential, more capable regional actors — like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. What’s more, Russia and China have increased their engagement both at the global policy level and in specific fragile states. These countries, and the West, all adopt different strategies and approaches based on their capabilities and strategic economic and security interests — often, in deep contradiction with one another.

Why Russia Officially Broke With NATO


Russia’s decision to end diplomatic engagement with NATO should have been a nonevent.

Responding to NATO’s decision to expel a number of Russian military officers serving at Moscow’s mission to the Atlantic alliance and to cut the size of the mission by half, Russia upped the ante. It suspended relations with NATO, recalled the staff of its mission from Brussels, ordered NATO liaison officers stationed in Moscow to leave, and required the NATO information office to close.

It would have sounded alarming, except that the relationship had been de facto broken off seven years ago in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Since then, NATO has fully reverted to its initial mission of deterring Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian and NATO officers had very limited access to senior officials on the other side, and no serious transactions were taking place at that level. Thus, Russia-NATO relations were suspended long before they actually ceased to exist.

GAO Study Stresses Need for Steady Funding of Quantum Tech

Alexandra Kelley

Quantum technology could support innovation in a myriad of industries but will require significant investment across several economic sectors, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

The report examines where more funding is required to catalyze the implementation and development of quantum technology, specifically quantum computing, as well as the opportunities and drawbacks that come with increased investment.

“The report finds that future quantum computers could outperform regular computers in some tasks, such as simulating chemical interactions for drug development and other purposes,” said Karen Howard, the GAO’s Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team director. “However, getting there likely requires navigating a complex supply chain, developing the workforce, and investing billions of additional dollars.”

How the semiconductor industry is transforming in the face of disruption and shortages

Brandon Vigliarolo

A study from Deloitte on business transformation in the semiconductor industry finds that there are big changes happening in the chip manufacturing world, and not all of them are due to pandemic-related supply chain interruptions.

It's true that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global chip shortage, but the common assumption that the pandemic was the cause doesn't go far enough into understanding the state of the semiconductor industry prior to the pandemic, said Deloitte semiconductor sector for consulting lead Brandon Kulik.

"Semiconductor companies have under-invested in basic things like automation, they've honed in on selling the same products to the same customers and have been following Moore's law to make their chips smaller and more energy efficient—all the things they've been doing forever. When something happens that's once in a lifetime, like the pandemic, their ability to shift is not as great as that of other industries," Kulik said.

Defeating China’s Gray Zone Tactics Is Difficult, but Necessary

James Holmes

Here’s What You Need to Remember: It is not enough to think exclusively about the marine dimensions of strategy. To balk China’s gray-zone stratagems, Washington and its allies must take a page from Beijing and adopt a holistic, grand-strategic posture that applies patient, vigilant countervailing pressure on many fronts simultaneously. In short, the defenders of the status quo must think in shades of gray and must accustom themselves to acting in the twilight between peace and war. To do any less would concede to China the initiative—and the future shape of the regional order.

Deterring aggression in the “gray zone” is hard. The keeper of an existing order—an order such as freedom of the sea—finds itself conflicted. That’s because gray-zone aggressors deliberately refuse to breach the threshold between uneasy peace and armed conflict, justifying a martial response. Instead they demolish the status quo little by little and replace it with something new.

The Army Is Ready to Capitalize on Anti-Drone Technological Achievements

Kris Osborn

The Army’s first anti-drone, missile-armed Stryker vehicles have arrived in Europe and are ready for combat. This is a first step for the Army’s Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) program, which will bring air-defense operational reality to Army Stryker maneuver formations.

The M-SHORAD program, which arms Strykers with AGM-114 Hellfire and FIM-92 Stinger missiles, will prioritize a Cold War-era air defense plan to counter advancing infantry formations that have “atrophied” or disappeared during years of counterinsurgency when there was no air threat.

Maj. Gen. Brian Gibson, the director of the Air & Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team for Army Futures Command, referred to the first equipped unit as a “milestone” effort. That is because a Stryker vehicle with the ability to fire Hellfire and Stinger missiles can track, target and destroy drones, helicopters and low-flying fixed-wing aircraft. Advancing infantry units can be protected in unprecedented ways since the advent of the Stryker more than twenty years ago. Mobile Strykers armed with anti-aircraft weapons are particularly relevant to the United States and its allies, which could demonstrate an ability to quickly deploy troops on the European continent and across the region. Additionally, they could conduct expeditionary operations in response to Russian activity in contested or high-tension areas in Eastern Europe.

Russia Thinks Aircraft Carriers are Going Extinct

Lyle J. Goldstein

Here's What You Need to Remember: They aren't unsinkable, but they aren't dead yet either.

The 2019 iteration of the naval exercise Sea Breeze, which brought together nineteen nations (mostly from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and thirty-two ships, ended in the Ukrainian port of Odesa on July 12. The exercise was apparently conducted without incident. The Black Sea has indeed become fraught with tension since the November 2018 Kerch Strait skirmish, which witnessed Russia’s violent seizure of three Ukrainian vessels, whose crews remain in Russian captivity.

If some nationalists in Kyiv thought that crisis would cause Ukrainians to “rally round the flag” and support Petro Poroshenko’s continuing hard line regarding Russia and the fate of the Donbas, they were utterly mistaken. Now, if Moscow is serious about dealing constructively with the new administration in Kyiv, then Kremlin needs to cut the gamesmanship and release the captive crews and vessels as a gesture of goodwill.

The Army Plans to Change the Way It Conducts Information Wars

Kris Osborn

The Army wants to break apart its weapons systems to find problems, refine technologies, upgrade components and integrate new technologies as they become available.

The goal is to “bridge and overcome” proprietary and technological limitations that can impede interoperability or the possibility of upgrading a weapons system with new generation enhancements such as targeting upgrades, sensor improvements or the full insertion of new technologies.

Mail. Gen. Brian Gibson, the director, Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team for Army Futures Command, told the National Interest that new weapons systems need to be “opened up” and then “put in the hands of soldiers” to pave a path toward modernization. The Army doesn’t want to be bound “by intellectual property” or by “technology that does not allow you to fix the data,” Gibson explained. That’s why the military service is leaning toward interoperability.

What Drove The Invention Of Military Technologies?

Peter Turchin from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) and an interdisciplinary team of colleagues set out to test competing theories about what drove the evolution of war machines throughout world history. Their study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, sees the strongest influence on the evolution of military technology coming from world population size, the connectivity between geographical areas, and advances in critical technologies such as iron metallurgy or horse riding. Conversely, and somewhat surprisingly, state-level factors such as the size of the population, the territory, or the complexity of governance seem not to have played a major role.

Using Big Data for historical questions

“We had two goals for this study,” principal investigator Peter Turchin points out. “First, we wanted to draw a clear picture of where and when military technologies appeared in pre-industrial societies. Second, we intended to find out why important technologies were developed or adopted in certain places.”

For their analyses, the researchers used Seshat: Global History Databank, a large and constantly growing collection of historical and archaeological data from across the globe. To date, Seshat has assembled around 200,000 entries from more than 500 societies, spanning 10,000 years of human history.


Travis Pike

The Marine Corps is rolling into the future, stripping armor assets, and streamlining their approach to warfare. The Marine Rifle Squad, in particular, has seen a unique update that’s changed its basic composition from 13 Marines to 15 Marines. Besides adding two Marines to the squad, their arsenal has also been updated with lighter, more lethal weapon options. In part 2 of our analysis of the Future of the Marine Corps Rifle Squad, we are taking a peek at their new arsenal.

The Marine Rifle Squad has made four changes to its weaponry loadout. These changes streamlined the squad’s firepower and gave the basic rifle squad better capabilities for modern warfare. The focus seems to be on making the individual squad more autonomous and more capable, which aligns with the structure update of the Marine Rifle Squad.